Statin drugs have become so popular in medical circles that some people were joking, "They should be put in the water." Perhaps that is not water some would like to drink. In fact, due to marketing efforts and studies published by statin companies, statin drugs have become what doctors refer to as "standard of care" meaning, if a doctor DOESN'T prescribe them, they are outside of the limits of acceptable medical practice.
In the past, the administration of statin drugs was well known to cause a rapid decline in the body's stores of Co-Q 10. Co-Q 10 has been called, "The most vital nutrient" because its presence is needed for energy production in all of your cells. Cells which need a lot of energy, such as heart cells, are most sensitive to this depletion. Muscle pain and other vital organ dysfunction can be related to reduced Co-Q 10 levels.
Now there are two studies that begin to put a further dullness on the sheen of statins. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in July of 2009 revealed that persons who experienced muscle pain while taking statin drugs (a common side effect of the medications) actually experienced muscle damage, as evidenced by biopsies obtained from patients suffering this complication.
The complication of muscle pain is listed in the product information for Lipitor, the most commonly prescribed statin. It reads, "LIPITOR can cause serious muscle problems that can lead to kidney problems, including kidney failure."
Now, another new study outlines a possible pathway for this damage that is even more ominous. Researchers at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati found that statin users who experienced muscle pain were much more likely to be vitamin D deficient. The second part of this study involved giving those deficient patients large doses of vitamin D to replenish their body. After administration of repleting doses of vitamin D, over 90% of these patients had resolution of their muscle pain. The researchers stated, "We speculate that symptomatic myalgia in statin-treated patients with concurrent vitamin D deficiency may reflect a reversible interaction between vitamin D deficiency and statins on skeletal muscle."
This "mysterious" connection may be as simple as basic biochemistry. You see, vitamin D is formed when the cholesterol in your blood is exposed in the skin to sunlight. We already know that people with low cholesterol absorb fat-soluble vitamins very poorly; vitamins such as vitamin D.
What is the danger with vitamin D deficiency besides muscle damage and potential kidney failure? The answer is, reduced vitamin D levels have been shown to increase risk of cancer, cognitive decline, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, narrowing of arteries in type 2 diabetics, congestive heart failure, death from heart disease and many other side effects under study. In addition, there is a strong link between low vitamin D and these symptoms of metabolic syndrome: Lower HDL cholesterol, higher triglyceride levels, higher levels of abdominal obesity and a higher body mass index.
Of all the drawbacks of statin drugs, the ability to rob the body of vitamin D may turn out to be the most severe. The ability of the statin drugs to rob the body of Co-Q 10, fat soluble vitamins and vitamin D in particular may turn out to be a devastating consequence of statin drugs. But for now, they remain: standard of care.
Symtrimics is an educational program. It is not intended as medical care, medical evaluation or medical treatment. For medical care, please consult your physician.
Dr. Kelly Sennholz is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Symtrimics LLC, a Physician Prescribed Wellness Program. She has been instrumental in creating excellent health for thousands of patients and transforming medical practices to true sources of health. Symtrimics allows doctors to once again feel satisfaction in their medical practice and real relationships with their patients. Go to www.symtrimics.com to learn more about the 5 Symtrimics programs and to be referred to a wellness physician.